Boasting 1,777 km of mainland coastline and over 4,000 km around its 1,200-plus islands, Croatia is undoubtedly one of the world’s top tourist destinations. The crystal clear waters of the Adriatic attract all kinds of holidaymakers, but there’s one activity that stands out above the rest: fishing in Croatia. With a range of exciting and delicious fish that can rarely be hooked elsewhere, Croatia offers some of the best fishing opportunities in Europe.
No matter what kind of angling adventure you’re looking for, Croatia has it. From the stunning saline sea waters to the national parks, and all the way to Europe’s second-longest river, the Danube, the opportunities are endless in this small nation. So without further ado, let’s explore the rich fishing waters of Croatia.
What fish can I catch in Croatia?
With over 400 saltwater species found in Croatia, it’s no surprise that you can catch a diverse range of fish here. From Bluefin Tuna to Seabass, Carp, and Trout, there’s something for every angler.
Usually found in deep waters, it may come as a surprise that you can find Bluefin Tuna in Croatia. But visit during the right time of year, and you can catch plenty of these monsters in the Adriatic Sea. Strong, tough-fighting, and delicious, landing a Bluefin is one of the biggest prizes in Croatia. Wait until August and September for the best chance to reel in these tasty fish.
If you’re sitting in a restaurant along the Adriatic coast, chances are you’ll be smelling Seabass. Found in the shallower waters close to shore, Seabass is one of the tastiest fish in the Mediterranean. Freshly caught Seabass reigns supreme over any farmed variety. Try bottom fishing and jigging to attract their attention and enjoy a day filled with Seabass, Seabream, Dentex, Pandora, Mackerel, and more.
One of Europe’s most sought-after fish, Carp is a popular feature in lakes and rivers across the continent, including Croatia. The warmer months are the best time for Carp fishing in Croatia, with some lakes boasting Carp action as early as April. Get ready for some serious action as you go after Carp as big as 90 pounds. Carp is just one of the star-studded line of freshwater fish to target when fishing in Croatia. Catfish, Pike, Perch, and Grayling are also popular catches across the country’s fisheries.
Fly anglers from all across Europe flock to Croatia for one fish – Trout. Some of the continent’s best Trout fisheries are found in Croatia, without all the crowds. Near Plitvice, Krka, and Risnjak National Parks, you’ll find some of the best spots for casting your line and immersing yourself in incredible natural beauty.
Fishing in Croatia: How?
Now that you know what you want to catch, the next step is going after it. In Croatia, you have plenty of tried and tested methods to choose from. Here are a few popular techniques:
Fly Fishing: From Shore
Escape into your own angling universe and cast away without a care in the world. Croatian fly fishing can be done from shore or on the numerous freshwater rivers and lakes. The Trout-filled waters of the Gacka River can only be fished using a fly, while other spots like Krka and Slunjčica Rivers, and Jesenica and Šumbar Lakes offer plenty of action too.
Fly Fishing: From a Boat
Fly fishing in Croatia is not only popular from shore. Many charter operators, especially on freshwater, provide fly gear or you can bring your own to get the most out of the water. Fly fishing in the rich freshwater lakes inland allows you to catch Carp, Pike, Perch, and Grayling.
Fishing from a kayak is an exhilarating experience. You can kayak fish anywhere from the shallow nearshore waters of the coast to the numerous lakes and rivers. Use your strength and navigational skills to work your way to the sweet spots before casting from an awkward angle to land the bite. Kayak fishing is especially popular in freshwater lakes and is a great activity for the whole family.
Charter fishing stands out as one of the best fishing experiences, whether on saltwater or freshwater. The whole Adriatic coastline is filled with charters waiting to take you out on an angling adventure. Target a range of different fish from inshore to offshore and make the most of the expertise of professional guides.
The clear waters of the Adriatic make spearfishing a thrilling activity. Join underwater expeditions to discover incredible sights and catch delicious inshore and nearshore fish, such as Groupers, Dentex, Seabream, Pandora, and more.
Where to Go Fishing in Croatia
Croatia offers endless opportunities for fishing, but some locations stand out for their excellent fishing spots. Here are a few top picks:
Life on the Istrian Peninsula revolves around the water. With access to clean sea, stunning islands, and productive bays, Istria offers a range of fishing opportunities. Hop on a fishing charter from Poreč, Rovinj, Pula, or any town along the western coast and enjoy some delicious fish. Alternatively, explore the islands of Cres and Lošinj, which offer some of the best nearshore fishing in the country.
The Kupa River is one of Croatia’s best freshwater fisheries. Spanning 296 km, it’s annually stocked with Carp and California Trout. The river flows from Drava to Risnjak National Park, taking you on a journey through Croatia’s topography. For the best views, head to the 4 km set in the National Park and experience fishing like never before.
Otočac, located south from the Krka River’s end, is the gateway to the Gacka River. The town offers access to one of the best Grayling and Trout fisheries in Europe. Additionally, you’re close to Lička Jesenica, where you’ll find fantastic Trout fly fishing opportunities. Make Otočac your base and add a visit to the stunning Plitvice Lakes to your itinerary for an incredible fishing experience.
The Dalmatian Coast
The Dalmatian Coast is full of great fishing spots. From Split to Makarska, and as far south as Dubrovnik, you’ll find a treat in every town, village, and city built around fishing. Charter operators along the coast offer trips that cater to anglers of all kinds. Explore the bays for smaller table fare or venture offshore for Tuna, Mahi Mahi, and Swordfish.
Vransko Lake is the largest natural lake in Croatia and offers some of the best freshwater fishing in the country. Located between Zadar and Šibenik on the Dalmatian Coast, this fishing paradise is known for trophy-sized Catfish, Carp, and Pike. Fish from shore, go on a guided tour, or kayak in the lake for an unforgettable experience.
When to Go Fishing in Croatia
Fishing in Croatia is a year-round activity. The Mediterranean climate along the coast ensures there’s always a chance to catch fish. Summer is the peak season, offering warm weather and excellent saltwater fishing opportunities. However, many anglers prefer September when the weather is still hot, the crowds have diminished, and the fishing is still on fire. Autumn and spring are also great for freshwater fishing, with Trout runs and bigger Carp, Pike, and Catfish.
Before going fishing in Croatia, make sure to have a fishing license if you’re over 14 years old. While most saltwater charter operators cover the license, it’s worth checking with them beforehand. Getting a fishing license is relatively easy – just take a form of photo ID to a tourist agency or office, pay the nominal fee, and you’re good to go. Different permits are required for saltwater and freshwater fishing, and there are specific regulations for spearfishing. Be aware of restrictions in national parks and wildlife reserves.
You’re now ready to join the millions of tourists who flock to Croatia every year. Armed with insider knowledge, you can enjoy thrilling fishing adventures, warm hospitality, and stunning sights. Share your fishing experiences in Croatia in the comments below!